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Bahrain insurance market grows in 2006


MANAMA, Bahrain— Bahrain's domestic insurance market in 2006 posted it's largest-ever jump in gross premiums with writings surging 22%, according to figures released by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Insurers' gross premiums amounted to 115.9 million Bahrain dinars ($307.4 million) last year, up from 94.9 million Bahrain dinars ($251.7 million) in 2005. Life insurance writings were responsible for the largest part of the increase, jumping more than 46.5% to 24.3 million Bahrain dinars ($64.4 million).

Fire insurance premiums were up 22.7% to 18.2 million Bahrain dinars ($48.3 million) and gross premiums in miscellaneous lines, which include contractors' risk, personal accident and other liability coverages jumped 18% to 24.4 million Bahrain dinars ($64.4 million). Marine writings were up 20% to 7.1 million Bahrain dinars ($18.8 million).

The CBB attributed the increase in insurance buying to the kingdom's investment in large infrastructure projects and strong private sector investment in real estate. The country also is promoting life insurance and other personal lines coverages in public awareness programs that have proved successful, the bank said.

"We expect the insurance sector to continue its growth momentum in the coming years as significant investments continue in infrastructure, real estate and industry, and with the introduction of compulsory health insurance for expatriates," said Abdul Rahman Al Baker, the CBB's executive director, financial institutions supervision, in a statement.